A Little Time and a Keyboard: Introducing GiveNKind: Connecting Donors and NonProfits in Unique Ways

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Introducing GiveNKind: Connecting Donors and NonProfits in Unique Ways

Introducing GiveNKind: Connecting Donors and NonProfits in Unique Ways

Introducing GiveNKind: Connecting Donors and NonProfits in Unique Ways

GiveNKind: Connect. Donate. Do Good. GiveNKind is a wonderful local nonprofit connecting the community in unique ways. Their motto is so impactful and truly expresses what GiveNKind does. Recently, I spoke to founder Emily Petway and learned more about this innovative and uplifting local nonprofit. I am happy to share what I learned with you!

The LoBue family volunteering at new GiveNKind facility in Buffalo Grove. Image credit Emily Petway.
The LoBue family volunteering at the new GiveNKind facility in Buffalo Grove. Image credit: Emily Petway.
What is GiveNKind all about?

Essentially, GiveNKind assists area nonprofits in connecting with product donations they are in need of. Whether it be dish sets and sheet sets for nonprofits helping homeless transition to homes or socks for children in foster care, group homes or shelters or business folios for a college readiness program or a lawn mower needed for mowing the grounds of a nonprofit, GiveNKind serves as a conduit to streamline connecting donations to other nonprofits.

Taste for the Homeless was one of the many organization who picked up the 8,000 brand new swimsuits donated to GiveNKind through their partnership with ShipBob. Image credit: Emily Petway.
Taste for the Homeless was one of the many organization who picked up the 8,000 brand new swimsuits donated to GiveNKind through their partnership with ShipBob. Image credit: Emily Petway.

How did GiveNKind begin?

As I began to learn GiveNKind's story, I wondered how Emily launched her nonprofit journey. Emily comes from an entrepreneurial family and that spirit really shows! Her family's Chicago area business took trial run shampoo bottles and donated them to a women's shelter in need. The lesson retained from this act of kindness is that items we may cast off may be very important to someone else.

While teaching high school band in Atlanta, Emily learned that one of her students would not be able to attend prom because she could not afford a dress. Emily could not let this student nor others miss such a memorable high school moment. So, she started a prom dress bank which would eventually service all of Atlanta. While managing the prom dress bank, Emily quickly learned that nonprofits are in need of much more than what we see on the surface. For example, the nonprofit was in need of dry cleaning bags, post-its, curtains, a lawn mower and more.

New GiveNKind warehouse in Buffalo Grove. Image credit Emily Petway.
New GiveNKind warehouse in Buffalo Grove. Image credit Emily Petway.
Yes, the nonprofit needed a lawn mower to maintain its property! Trying to obtain the lawn mower, Emily learned about the amount of time and resources a nonprofit can expend procuring each item they need. Her nonprofit eventually found a lawn mower for free on Freecycle. However, before they could claim it someone already came by for the lawn mower for their second home. She began to think, how can we better promote what nonprofits need so that connecting with needed resources can be more streamlined.

Soon, Emily founded GiveNKind with the purpose of becoming a key conduit connecting nonprofits with individual and corporate donors. In just 20 months, GiveNKind has been able to place an incredible $2 million of items with nonprofits.

To Go Containers gifted through GiveNKind to Taste for the Homeless to serve food to those living on the streets of Chicago. Image Credit: Michael Airhart
To Go Containers gifted through GiveNKind to Taste for the Homeless to serve food to those living on the streets of Chicago. Image Credit: Michael Airhart
As I spoke to Emily, her passion for facilitating the placement of cast off items with people that need them, making it easier for nonprofits to obtain vital resources and finding creative solutions for unique donations came through. The way she has been able to place so many unique items for people that really, really need them is nothing short of inspiring and amazing. She told me about many unique placings including 8,000 bathing suits that were "last year's style" placed with the YMCA and numerous additional organizations. Also, GiveNKind received 1,000s of fairy house materials. They were able to place them with Youth Services in Glenview to be used for therapeutic play for underserved children. GiveNKind has made so many unique connections making the world better!

"It is about giving dignity, giving an improved quality of life and at the same time letting people know that their community cares about them." ~Emily Petway

Items that you may not think of are useful:

So many items we take for granted can be vital for those in need! Suitcases can help the homeless or those that need to move from home to home. Home decor items can help formerly homeless people set up their new homes. Board games and puzzles can serve in boredom buster packs for children in need. Misprinted cooling scarves can be used for menopausal women in need or maybe by a YMCA for sports activities. A donation of jump ropes can be distributed to a variety of community programs. Tiny toys such as figurines can be so meaningful to children in foster care who cherish carrying them easily when they move homes. Something that you find as not useful may be in fact exactly what a nonprofit is looking for.

GiveNKind specializes in placing donations whether they are something we easily recognize as useful or something that takes a little more creativity. It works and it is helping the community!

The pillow this neighbor is holding is one of the many items gifted to a neighbor moving into a new home! Image Credit Bisma Shoukat.
The pillow this neighbor is holding is one of the many items gifted to a neighbor moving into a new home! Image Credit Bisma Shoukat.
GiveNKind's Goals:

GiveNKind would like to serve as a one-stop-shop to better help nonprofits obtain what they need all at once. It saves nonprofits time. It saves volunteers time. It allows items to move more quickly.

Currently, GiveNKind is working with over 200 organizations. In addition to the Buffalo Grove location, GiveNKind also has a Carlisle-Bethlehem, Pennsylvania chapter. The nonprofit also has a presence in Texas and California. Additionally, GiveNKind works with manufacturers and distributors that have overruns, misprints, overstock and more to place those items with nonprofits. GiveNKind also accepts individual donations. Every day, GiveNKind is working on expanding its network.

For example, GiveNKind has a relationship with nationwide logistics company ShipBob. ShipBob notifies GiveNKind of potential product return, close date, surplus or canceled shipments that GiveNKind can try to place with a nonprofit. Unique partnerships like this help get product that may end up in a landfill to people who need it.

Volunteer Groups (Pre Covid). Image credit Emily Petway.
Volunteer Groups (Pre Covid). Image credit Emily Petway.

How can you help?

You can find all you need to know on how to help easily on the GiveNKind website! Donations need to be of good quality and not damaged (nonprofits may not be able to fix them). Additionally, GiveNKind does not accept items with alcohol, drug or inappropriate slogans. Items with political slogans are not accepted as well. Donations can be made through appointment. Social media interactions also help getting the community involved. If your company has items that can be donated, GiveNKind would like to connect with you. GiveNKind also has wishlists for its nonprofit partners that you can help fill. In addition, your group can hold a drive for GiveNKind. If you have questions about whether a donation is acceptable, contact GiveNKind by visiting their website, emailing contact@givenkind.org or by calling 847-802-8977.

Thank you so much to Emily Petway for sharing GiveNKind with me! GiveNKind is a fantastic nonprofit and serves such a vital role in our community!

**Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Introducing GiveNKind: A Chicago Area NonProfit Connecting Donors and NonProfits in Unique Ways

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